‘Iran was our Hogwarts’: my childhood between Tehran and Essex – podcast

Growing up in Essex, my summers in Iran felt like magical interludes from reality – but it was a spell that always had to be broken. By Arianne Shahvisi 

Illustration of a young woman looking at a magical scene of Tehran

Illustration: Nathalie Lees/The Guardian

Written by Arianne Shahvisi, read by Serena Manteghi and produced by Esther Opoku-Gyeni

theguardian – Fri 29 Oct 2021 05.00 BST

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‘We tried to be joyful enough to deserve our new lives’: What it’s really like to be a refugee in Britain – podcast

As a child, I fled Afghanistan with my family. When we arrived in Britain after a harrowing journey, we thought we could start our new life in safety. But the reality was very different.

Photograph of Zarlasht Halaimzai. Photograph: Sarah Lee/ The Guardian
 Photograph: Sarah Lee/The Guardian

The Guardian – By Zarlasht Halaimzai – Fri 21 Jan 2022 09.00 GMT

Written by Zarlasht Halaimzai, read by Serena Manteghi, and produced by Hattie Moir.

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China and the West begin the big face-off

Plain English Version – July 27, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Photo Credit: Aly Song/Reuters.

China is challenging the West. What is the West? It is not only nations in Europe or North America. It is countries that practice democracy.

India, Japan, South Korea, and Australia are Western nations that surround China. They worry about China’s size and ambitions. They view China with suspicion. Also, in the West, the United States and most of Europe see China as an adversary.

China is one country against the West.

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In New York City, Asians are the growing population

Plain English Version – October 19, 2021

There is a surge in the number of Asian residents across New York City. Photo Credit: Janice Chung for The New York Times.

It looked like the number of people living in New York City was shrinking. The 2020 census data would tell us how much.

Surprise! The city’s population actually grew by almost eight percent. Most of the population increase was Asian people. Today, people who call themselves Asian are sixteen percent of all the residents of New York City.

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War Crimes in Ukraine

War Crimes by Russia’s Forces in Ukraine



MARCH 23, 2022

Since launching his unprovoked and unjust war of choice, Russian President Vladimir Putin has unleashed unrelenting violence that has caused death and destruction across Ukraine.  We’ve seen numerous credible reports of indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately targeting civilians, as well as other atrocities.  Russia’s forces have destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian vehicles, shopping centers, and ambulances, leaving thousands of innocent civilians killed or wounded.  Many of the sites Russia’s forces have hit have been clearly identifiable as in-use by civilians.  This includes the Mariupol maternity hospital, as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressly noted in a March 11 report.  It also includes a strike that hit a Mariupol theater, clearly marked with the word “дети” — Russian for “children” — in huge letters visible from the sky.  Putin’s forces used these same tactics in Grozny, Chechnya, and Aleppo, Syria, where they intensified their bombardment of cities to break the will of the people.  Their attempt to do so in Ukraine has again shocked the world and, as President Zelenskyy has soberly attested, “bathed the people of Ukraine in blood and tears.”

Every day that Russia’s forces continue their brutal attacks, the number of innocent civilians killed and wounded, including women and children, climbs.  As of March 22, officials in besieged Mariupol said that more than 2,400 civilians had been killed in that city alone.  Not including the Mariupol devastation, the United Nations has officially confirmed more than 2,500 civilian casualties, including dead and wounded, and emphasizes the actual toll is likely higher.

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